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Trump Security Pick John Bolton Welcomed by Israelis, Reviled by Palestinians

US President Donald Trump's pick of John Bolton for his next national security adviser stirred up the same burning question Friday in Washington as in anxious foreign capitals: Just how much will his hawkish, confrontational approach rub off on Trump?

The President replaced secretary of state Rex W. Tillerson last week with the Central Intelligence Agency director, Mike Pompeo, a former army officer and Tea Party congressman who has spoken about regime change in Pyongyang and about ripping up the Iran nuclear deal.

Of course, if history is any guide, Bolton might self-destruct.

Bolton, a Yale Law School graduate, served as President George W. Bush's United Nations ambassador as a "recess appointment" due to broad opposition to his confirmation in the Senate.

In contrast the Palestinians reacted angrily, with Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, slamming Trump's pick."This man has a long history of hostility to Palestinians, dating to when he was at the United Nations, where he was protecting Israeli immunity", Ashrawi told AFP, referring to USA vetoes of UN resolutions targeting Israel.

Bolton has emphatically laid out his fears about Pakistan's nuclear weapons, and he has argued that pushing Pakistan too hard could imperil the country's nuclear security and put the nukes in the wrong hands. Following the nomination last week of the hawkish Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state, Bolton's elevation means that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the lone survivor among a trifecta of advisers who pushed Trump to hew closer to conventional foreign policy positions.

Trump has admired Bolton for years, praising him on Twitter as far back as 2014.

Republican senators tweak Trump for Putin call, knock White House leaker
Sanders insisted that the administration has scolded Putin at the appropriate times. Trump was also advised to condemn the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

Along comes Bolton, who believes there is a yawning divide between "Americanists" and "globalists" (a term Bannon also used) who seek to tie the United States down, as the Lilliputians did to Gulliver.

In March 2015, Bolton wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled "To stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran".

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican hawk whose support for any U.S. military action is so predictable it has become a political punchline, was delighted at Mr Bolton's return.

No surprise, Bolton totally downplays the consequences of trashing the deal, which would leave Tehran free to immediately advance toward nuclear breakout capacity. The immediate consequences of these personnel changes will be most visible in the administration's approach towards North Korea. As recently as last month, he was arguing that the US had a legal basis to attack North Korea in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Bolton is well known for his advocacy of illegal wars of aggression, in particular against North Korea and Iran, his contempt for the United Nations and global law, and his belligerent stance towards USA rivals such as China and Russian Federation. That the United States ought to be able to force and impose its will on everybody else. Japan has also been increasingly concerned about becoming collateral damage, as North Korea previous year fired several missiles over Japanese territory and threatened to strike American military bases there.

But Bolton's tragically shortsighted opinions about USA foreign policy extend beyond the Middle East.

Until now, threats of preemptive war appeared to be pressure tactics aimed to squeeze and limit Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

In its editorial yesterday "Yes, John Bolton really is that unsafe", the New York Times warned: "There are few people more likely than Mr Bolton is to lead the country into war ..."

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